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Main > Libyan folktales > Fairy tale "The Sons of Sultan Bey"

The Sons of Sultan Bey

At dinnertime, the prince ate heartily of the rice, and he soon felt a great drowsiness encloud his head. He dropped to the deck, heavy with sleep. The captain lifted him up and carried him back to his cabin. He took off the prince's silk clothes, took his purse and his ring of gold, and he dressed the prince in a ragged and torn shirt. Then he set shackles to bind his wrists and feet. After all this was done the prince awoke, and he was amazed when he realized the treachery of the captain. Though he tugged and tore at the shackles until his skin was torn from his wrists and ankles, he could not force the chains open. The captain laughed a great laugh. "Without your fine clothes, we'll see what you're worth! I'll take you to the land of the Abyssinians. There I will sell you as a slave!"

For three days and three nights they sailed on, and Prince Ali remained in a wretched and miserable state. On the third night, a dreadful storm came, and thunder and hail and lightning and great waves overthrew the ship. The prince was flung, shackled as he was, into the sea, and he could not swim or move to save himself. The prince sank downward until he hit the rocks on the bottom of the sea, and water filled his lungs.

Near where the prince fell on the rocks, there stood the cavern of the princess of the sea, who was called the Bride of the Sea by those who lived under the ocean. The Bride of the Sea saw the young man sink downward to the rocks, and she took pity on his terrible condition, chained as he was and unable to save himself. She instructed her castle nymphs to carry the youth to a great rock which rose out of the water, so he could again breathe the air. When the water emptied from his lungs, and when he could see and speak and breathe again, he saw that the cavern below the watery surface was lined with pink coral and pearls. On a golden throne was seated a lovely princess, with hair of jet-black silk, sea-blue eyes, with lips as the rose and cheeks as the lily, and with a slim body that ended in the tail of a fish, silver-green.

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